Marital property law in Wisconsin
March 14, 2014 5:44 PM Subscribe
If anyone here is familiar with marital property laws in Wisconsin, can you tell me if my boyfriend's views are correct?
posted by ella wren to Law & Government (10 answers total)
He says that Wisconsin is a community property state, meaning that all our assets and debts become joint property when we marry, and are split 50-50 in divorce. He is particularly concerned about being on the hook for any debts I incur and having to give up half of whatever assets he has if we divorce. I suggested we could just sign a prenup to cover anything that is important to him, but he said that there are no laws in place to guarantee the prenup would be valid, and that he would still be responsible for half my debt.
All of this is purely theoretical at this point. We're both good with money. We currently own a house together and split all expenses, and we each have a car loan, some small credit card debt, and large student loans (mine especially). He makes about 30% more than I do, but we both have standard middle class salaries, so there's not a huge disparity. He is not at all miserly, and is in fact incredibly generous and pretty unconcerned with money in every area except this one (which he knows is a little irrational). I'll never be wealthy but money-wise I'm perfectly self-sufficient. Assume no kids.
Which brings me to the real basis for his fears: his parents have married and divorced EACH OTHER three times now, with bitter divorce disputes each time. His mother made good money while his father racked up huge debts, and with each divorce his mother both lost her savings and acquired a new chunk of debt.
I have zero experience with divorce, so I can't tell whether this is the norm or an extreme example. Is there a legally-binding way to draft a prenup to protect individual property? (Just in case future-me becomes money-hungry and litigious.) Or agree ahead of time to a non-vindictive divorce? If we were to take out loans individually while married would they also be automatically split in divorce? I'm looking for Wisconsin-specific answers, as we don't plan on moving any time soon.